Title: Dating the Undead
Authors: Gena Showalter and Jill Monroe
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Series: Shares some information with Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series
Other Reviews for These Authors: Intertwined; Unraveled
Have you ever wondered if your Immortal relationship with last? What about the Dorito and video game addiction of your Zombie's? What about which type of Immortal man you'd fall for - a fiery, passionate Dragon shifter, or how about the loyal Werewolf? Dating the Undead promises it all. Parodying the many women's magazines on market today, Dating the Undead is a semi-serious, semi-ludicrous attempt at putting all of that dating advice into terms that a paranormal romance reader can identify with. Who wants to bother with mortal men anyway? All of the good ones become Immortal.
Dating the Undead isn't a traditional book, and as I don't know how to review a magazine, I'm going to try my best to spell out why this was so fun for me, and why you should (or shouldn't) spend money and/or time on reading it.
I'm not a big magazine reader. Some people love magazines, but I'm not one to sit down and read through magazine articles about style tips. They're fun, yes, but there isn't a widely available one for gay men that I have access to, so I generally keep to myself. Dating the Undead is more my style. As a paranormal romance reader, I'm all for figuring out what kind of Immortal man I'd want to date, as well as what to do once I'm in a relationship with an Immortal. I've read so much paranormal romance that this kind of thing is actually something that crosses my mind - and as an aspiring writer, the idea of how the tropes would make sense in a relationship is fascinating. Dating the Undead puts them into a nicely modern context.
The mythology within Dating the Undead obviously doesn't apply to every paranormal romance story on the market, but the general ideas it presents are the same. Some of them are obviously homages to specific paranormal romance series, such as a wine ad that mentions the Carpathian mountains (which is where Christine Feehan's Carpathian series takes place in). There are also a lot of pop culture mentions and jabs, including which celebrities may or may not be Immortal. The addition of pop culture is really what makes Dating the Undead so fun. The adverts mock everything from Calvin Klein to Travelocity, and what's funny is that the products would actually make sense to some degree if our culture did in fact have Immortals in it. It adds something extra to the humor, and they provide a lot of great chuckles as you read.
Subject-wise, the dating advice material in the faux-magazine is by far the best source of reading entertainment in it. There's so much involved in Immortal dating, and the room for humor was used to its fullest effect by Monroe and Showalter. Did you ever wonder if a demon's horn size effected the size of other things? Well, you'll find out (and the news is good...or not, depending on what type of horns your demon has). I have to admit that I actually laughed out loud at a lot of those articles in particular. Everything is written like a serious magazine article, so some of the facts and advice thrown out just makes the laughter burst out of you. If I had one content complaint, it would be that a few of the later articles involving food, cocktails, and vacationing weren't to my liking. I believe the food recipes and cocktail recipes can actually be made, but I didn't have the resources (or the legality in the alcohol's case) to test that theory. They still match the parody well, but it's not exactly the highlight of the read.
How could I complete this review without talking about the way Showalter's series was incorporated into the magazine? Frankly, it was awesome. This is shallow and biased, but the pictures of the Lords of the Underworld alone (okay, so the ones for the various species of Immortal were great, too) made my day. These boys are hot. They are all appropriate, too, but shirtless is more than enough to warrant a second - and third - look at the models chosen. The bios for each of the characters were fun as well, and they got me interested in reading the series. The magazine also comes with excerpts of the first Lords of the Underworld novel and the latest Lords of the Underworld novel. I only read the former because the latter risked spoilers, but it was sufficient enough to get me to want to read the full book, especially as I enjoyed the prequel novella, The Darkest Fire. Readers will find that little supplementary stuff a nice break from the magazine-like content, although reading it in traditional magazine format can be odd at times.
Other things like quizzes and Q&A's make the reading experience fun, too. The overall effect of Dating the Undead is one of pure enjoyment. This is the kind of thing that you buy for yourself or a good friend. You enjoy it while having a spa day. It's indulgence at its best, and what's great is that you can laugh as well as read the type of articles you enjoy while pampering yourself. Considering that Valentine's Day is upon us, it would be a great gift for it, too. I'm going to share it with a friend or two who is also single, as the humor in it is perfect for a paranormal romance reader. They will laugh and be reminded about why they escape into paranormal novels. The hot men. I personally find it more than worth it, myself. The images in this magazine alone will make you swoon, and it will give you a healthy reminder that reading paranormal romance is an enjoyable diversion from mortal romance.
Cover: What can I say? I like it. He's shirtless and in a sexy pose, and it looks very much like a magazine. I love the whole design of the book, really.
Rating: I'm forgoing an official rating, but consider it an endorsement to buy it as a great gift book for yourself or a friend.
Copy: Received from publicist/publisher for review (Thanks, Eric from Planned TV Arts and Harlequin!)
Now for the Giveaway!
Contest ends February 21st, 2012.
Thank you for entering, and I hope you all enjoy this book as much as I did. And happy Valentine's Day, even if you (like me) are jaded romantically.